Fauci’s Follies

I’m sure that Dr. Fauci is a bright guy and that he means well. My guess is that, like a lot of other dedicated doctors (and nurses), he has been working pretty much around the clock for months to slow the pandemic and ameliorate its effects on the American public. In spite of those admirable characteristics and efforts, though, as to his role of guiding the nation’s response to Covid-19, he’s well past his sell-by date.  

Dr. Fauci has made at least three mistakes that collectively show him to be the wrong man for the job.

The first of these, early-on in the crisis, was telling the American public that masks were useless when he knew the opposite to be true. He was presumably trying to make sure that the then-very-limited supply of masks would be available to health care providers – a more-than reasonable stance – but surely there were other ways to attain that end than by intentionally misleading the public.

The second was when he asserted with great confidence that Hydroxychloroquine was unhelpful to Covid-19 patients (https://www.cnn.com/2020/05/27/politics/anthony-fauci-hydroxychloroquine-trump-cnntv/index.html ). In response to his guidance (and a since-withdrawn article in The Lancet) – and perhaps to take a swipe at President Trump – some governors went so far as to ban the use of that drug in Covid-19 treatments.  

Now comes a well-documented, peer-reviewed study by the Henry Ford Health System https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/07/03/trump-vindicated-by-new-peer-reviewed-hydroxychloroquine-study-showing-reduced-covid-19-mortality-n602456 that shows a 50% reduction in mortality among Covid-19 patients who were given the drug. How many patients died because their doctors paid attention to Dr. Fauci on this matter, or were prohibited from prescribing the drug by their state governments? A reasonable guess: lots.

And finally, in recent days Dr. Fauci has been prattling on about how the increased numbers of identified Covid-19 infections is evidence that our country is moving in the wrong direction because of the reopenings. Meanwhile, the rapidly declining number of Covid-19 deaths (the rolling average daily death toll from the virus is now down to 511 – https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/country/us/  – as compared with 560 four days ago and about 2,300 at the mid-April peak) is rock-solid evidence that the virus’s spread is slowing – and has been doing so for nearly three months. I’m quite confident that Dr. Fauci is well aware of this great news; he just prefers to emphasize the negative (the ever-larger numbers of identified infections that result from dramatically increased testing) because he hopes to scare us all into hyper-cautious behavior to continue to slow the virus’s spread.

In other words, Dr. Fauci’s third mistake (by my lights), shows the same the-end-justifies-the-means willingness to mislead the public as his first – things are in fact getting better, but he wants us to think they’re getting worse. Dr. Fauci apparently thinks his role is to lead us in what he thinks is the right direction, and that if he has to bend the truth to achieve that objective, so be it. This is government by our self-perceived betters rather than the behavior a free and sovereign people should expect from taxpayer-employed experts.

Perhaps we should keep our social distancing and lockdowns, maybe we shouldn’t; those are personal and political decisions with major implications as to both health and economics, though, that should be made by us and our elected representatives on the basis of facts – not based on a distorted picture designed to push our decisions in a particular direction.

Dr. Fauci’s role depends on his credibility; he has squandered it.

M.H. Johnston

5 comments to Fauci’s Follies

  • Carolyn Mack  says:

    Spot on. Have not been a Fauci fan from day one. He’s also linked to lab in China!

  • Bob P.  says:

    Thanks Mark. It has been frustrating to filter through the information–masks are useless was the one that truly annoyed me early on. It was so blatantly a lie.

    also when did the mission change from “sacrifice to flatten the curve” to “sacrifice until we have a cure?”

  • Anonymous  says:

    Mark,

    As usual you are right on. Of all public officials who really missed the point and misinformed the public Dr. Fauci is number one culprit.

  • Anonymous  says:

    Fauci follies still make sense? Deaths up to 1000 per day now. . . They probably will send in loads of hydroxycloroquine to treat the patients in Florida, Texas and Arizona

    • M Johnston  says:

      I stand by its conclusions. Clearly you think my final point – about the slowing infection rate – has been proven wrong because the seven day rolling average daily death rate has since risen to 918; I disagree. 918 deaths per day, while horrible, is still vastly lower than the rate of about 2,300 per day in mid-April. The rate of newly identified infections is now roughly triple what it was in early April, but again, I think that’s more reliable as an indicator of how many people are being tested than of the rate of increase of the virus’s spread. The virus is absolutely still spreading, and still deadly in something like .5% of cases, but my point is that it must be spreading less quickly than it was in early April or we would be seeing deaths increase to 2,300 per day or more – three times that many if you think newly identified infections are the most important metric. (Note that I’m aware that the relationship between infections and deaths is not linear – other factors are doubtless at play, like the fact that newly identified infections may skew toward younger people; even so, the dramatic decline in daily deaths since early April – when it “should” have been rising sharply if you go by numbers of identified infections – looks like quite definitive evidence to me). The partial reversal (from 560 to 918) over the last couple of weeks is terrible, and may or may not represent a longer term change in patterns but I’m going to go ahead and guess not since it has been fairly flat over the last week. So yes, I still think Dr. Fauci has blown his credibility through his several readily demonstrable mistakes.

      P.S. Actually several of the newer studies are showing that Hydroxychloroquine is decisively helpful for many patients if administered properly and early, so I don’t know why you keep banging on about it as if it were an anti-Trump joke.
      P.P.S. Added the image above of Dr. Fauci ignoring his own advice. Thought you might enjoy it.
      P.P.P.S. Henceforth I won’t respond to anonymously posted comments.

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